During the early 1990s’ financial crisis I was walking on Aleksanterinkatu, one of the main banking streets of Helsinki, and the tearing down of what used to be wealthy banks’ neon letter signs caught my eye. When I asked one of the workers what was going to happen with the neon letters, the answer was that they were going to the dump. I asked if I could have them instead and after some negotiations the letters were transported to my studio. I found it intriguing how once so mighty banks’ logos could turn into a pile of junk.

What was the life of a neon letter sign? I started to work with the letters, I counted them and started to reorganise them into new words and meanings. The letters became carriers of hidden messages and they slowly revealed their lives to me. I turned the letters into objects, I painted and photographed them and used them in my paintings. To me, these letters still have deep meanings. They have become symbols of power that can vanish in an instant. Ever since I discovered the letters, I continued working on this project in one form or another.


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